Originally Posted by Stray
I think a big reason why Macs seem faster is because a lot of people bog their Windows PCs down with tons of bloatware/unneeded software. Macs don't have a lot of that, but at the same time if you're slowing your PC down with that it's a user problem. Another reason I'd say they feel faster is because people often compare apples to oranges. A MBP runs like what, 1800 bucks? If you buy yourself an 1800 dollar Windows PC and take care of it it'll be every bit as fast as a Mac, probably faster.
Certain processors age really fast, they're usually the ones found in lower end Windows PCs. A fast processor from 4 years ago is still pretty fast tho...and it's not like Mac builds their own special processors, they're using Intel chips as well. Because of their price range they're just not using the cheaper ones.
After so many years of picking up random junk from browsing the web any computer is bound to slow down, since the Mac OS is designed to use only what they decide you can use, they're less susceptible to that junk. Just take care of your PC and get good hardware, it'll last you as long as you want.
I agree. The only difference between a Mac and a PC is the Operating System (the Mac OS is not much different than Windows), the logo on the outside and the price. Under the hood a Mac is no different than a PC. You can build a PC yourself with the exact components found in a Mac for half the price. You can buy a computer with the exact same parts that are in an Apple for about 2/3 the price. For the price of an Apple you could buy a much more powerful PC. Not too many folks that are knowledgeable about computer hardware are going to recommend buying an Apple to their friends and family. If you shop wisely you can simply get much more for your money in the PC world, plus your computer will be much more upgradeable in the future.
When buying a computer you should forget about the brand name. Just pay attention to the exact components inside the computer. There can be a wide variation in the quality of the components inside the case even within the same brand (including Apple).
The two components you need to pay the most attention to are the processor and the graphics card. I recommend an Intel Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge processor and a discrete graphics card (one that is not build into the motherboard). You will get better performance, better upgradeability and less costly repairs if you ever have a non-warranty problem.
Keep in mind that a laptop computer is going to have far inferior performance compared to a desktop of the same price. In order to keep battery life extended and and to minimize heat and size the computer assemblers must use less powerful technology in their laptops. If you really need a powerful computer a good desktop will blow away any laptop. Laptops are great for their portability, but their performance is not on the same level as the desktop dollar for dollar.
Generally speaking, if your computer is slowing down over time it is not a hardware issue but rather a software issue. Putting too many cheap programs on a computer causes conflicts than can slow down the speed. When hardware goes bad it goes bad all at once. It is either working or it is not, there is no in-between in most cases. So if your PC or Apple is not as fast as it used to be it is not likely the manufacturer's fault. Just keep your computer cool and clean (protected from dust, moisture and pet hair) and just about any computer should last for several years.
An Apple is just as susceptible to viruses as a PC is. Again, the hardware is the same so there are vulnerabilities. But those vulnerabilities have to be exploited differently because of the different operating systems. Since Apple has such a small market share in the computer world the hackers have spent most of their malicious time creating nasty code for the PC. Why waste your time creating malware that can only harm a small number of computer users? Such a small percentage of the world's computers are Apples that it makes sense that fewer hackers have devoted the time to create viruses to attack them. As Apple's market share climbs, more and more viruses are created to attack them. Apple makes a strong effort to foster the perception that they don't get viruses, but the do get plenty of viruses. While you can get a virus at any time on a PC or an Apple, the real risk of viruses is not nearly as great as it used to be. The vast majority of viruses cause no harm, but it only takes one rare doozy to wreck things. Any simple anti-virus program (even the free ones) is likely to do a great job and protect you from viruses and malware very effectively. Many times a virus gets the blame for a slow computer when in reality the problem is a plethora of registry errors and conflicts caused by downloading or installing poorly coded software programs from the Internet. Since there is a lot less software available for the Mac it has the nice side effect of making it harder to pollute your registry.
Personally I wouldn't spend more than $500 on a laptop unless you are a hard-core gamer or you are into video editing. Today's $500 computer is better than last year's $1500 computer and it has been that way for a decade running. Next year's $500 computer will outperform this year's $1500 computer, so you are better off buying a new $500 computer every couple years. You will save money and have a better computer most of the time.